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A Tangent on on-line games for geography

Posted By: Doyle Stevick on October 10, 2007
 
Game developers on-line do have a kind of market mechanism to see which content is compelling enough in its own right to draw participants.

When I learned from boingboing.net that there was a version of Tetris done with the states in the U.S., it struck me as a valuable tool.

I contacted the developer, and encouraged him to do both the countries of Africa and the counties of South Carolina.

http://www.mapmsg.com/games/statetris/

It also now includes Europe, France, the UK, Japan and others.

I asked him to do the Tetris version of South Carolina in response to the internet-famous flub by Caitlan Upton that has seen 15 million or more views:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lj3iNxZ8Dww

I've found that the games really do help me understand more precisely the relative size of African countries, for example, and the precise relations of their borders. The need to rotate the falling states/countries in more difficult modes proved to be quite enlightening as well.

Doyle Stevick
Director, Office of International and Comparative Education
University of South Carolina
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 A Tangent on on-line games for geography by Doyle Stevick on October 10, 2007
     
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